Monday, January 12, 2015

Boatside



Let's talk about someone you've probably heard a lot about. Peter, the apostle, the guy who was ready to chop off an ear for Christ (sorry, van Gogh, guess you didn't think of it first), and then a few hours later was swearing he'd never heard of the Man.




Pastors preach a lot about Peter. There's a lot of life lessons we all get to learn from Peter's failures. I feel like he has the greatest number of embarrassing stories told about him in the Bible. Then again, he didn't kill anyone or sleep with anybody who wasn't his wife, so maybe he doesn't quite have that position all by himself. But we hear a lot about him.

We hear a lot about his lack of faith.

Like that time Jesus walked on the water, and when He came aside their boat, the disciples were all afraid. Then Peter, gathering courage, asks to be allowed to come to Jesus on the water. Jesus lets him come, but Peter sees the waves...

We know the rest of the story. His heart quakes within him, he starts sinking, and Jesus has to pull him out of the waters. And our pastors all tell us pretty much the same thing: poor, faithless Peter. If he'd only trusted Jesus...

But Peter had a lot more faith than a lot of us do.

Sure, he may have botched the whole thing by looking at the waves, instead of keeping focused on Christ, but he had the faith to step out of the boat.

So many of us are still in the boat.

We know there's something God wants us to do, because it's been gnawing at us like termites in a log, but it's going to be hard. It's going to be Herculean in nature, a feat we can't possibly do on our own. It's going to be practically like walking on water.

So we stay in the boat where it's safe, instead of taking the plunge. We stay cowering under the comfort of what we know, instead of stepping out into the storm.

Peter may have taken his eyes off Jesus, but we never have our eyes on Him to begin with.

We're too busy watching what the world does, what the world thinks. Instead of hearing Jesus say, "Come," we hear the crashing and roaring of the world saying, "That's crazy! You're insane! Why would you think you could possibly do that?"

And you know what? The world's right. You can't do it. But He can.

When Peter stopped focusing on Jesus and His strength, he started to sink.

When we trudge along in our strength, we sink.

But when we rely on His strength, like Peter, we can do the impossible. I mean, come on, Peter walked on water when he kept Jesus as his focus.

Don't stay in the boat. Get thee out into the storm.

It might be safe in the hull, but isn't being in the center of His will so much better?

I'm not saying it's going to be like strolling on the beach during a balmy summer morning. It's going to be hard. You're going to be scared. And that's okay. I'm scared too. There have been so many plunges I've had to take, and to be honest, most if not all of them were hard, hard, scary, chest-tightening-why-on-earth-am-I-doing-this types of plunges.

But when I look back, I haven't regretted a single one.

Because all of them took me toward Jesus.

So, if there's something you've prayed long and hard about, something you know without a doubt God wants you to do, please, do it. Risk it. But don't stop there. Don't sink like Peter. Keep praying, and focusing on Him. Because no matter how hard it is, you know it'll be worth it in the end.

I'll be jumping out of the boat with you, as I work on some big projects this year, many of them I'm quite terrified of, if I'm honest. I can't get them done on my own either.

But we don't have to work on anything alone. God is there, calling us, helping us do the impossible things, just like He helped Peter walk on water.


So what is God asking you to step out of the boat into?

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